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Gov. Edwards attends groundbreaking for Port Wonder development

Published: Jun. 30, 2021 at 7:59 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - For years, we’ve heard talk of lakefront development in Lake Charles, but on Wednesday, there was action.

On Wednesday, Lake Charles Mayor Nic Hunter, along with Governor John Bel Edwards and several other local and state officials, celebrated the groundbreaking of Port Wonder - a $20 million project first announced in 2018.

READ MORE: City officials announce $20 million project for lakefront

”In November of 2018, we gathered here in this exact spot to announce Port Wonder,” Hunter said.

Originally announced in November 2018, Port Wonder will be an educational and entertainment venue located on the north shore of Lake Charles, in between the Cypress Alligator Pond and the former Harrah’s parking garage on city-owned property.

Since then, Lake Charles has seen multiple natural disasters on top of an ongoing pandemic.

“This $22 million project, I think, will really change for the better this portion of Lake Charles,” Gov. Edwards said.

The project, a catalyst for several other upcoming lakefront development projects, includes site improvements, renovation of the old Harrah’s parking garage and the construction of an iconic structure that will house the Children’s Museum of Lake Charles and a science and nature center administered by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.

“We, right now, are not able to go back into our previous location. And so, we have decided to wait on Port Wonder,” Children’s Museum Director Allyson Montgomery said.

”We have an opportunity for educational courses and also have fishing opportunities where we can take kids out, especially underprivileged kids. Bring them out here, show them how to fish, and give them a really great day on the water,” Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Secretary Jack Montoucet said.

The City of Lake Charles and the Children’s Museum of Lake Charles have successfully solicited other funding partners, both governmental and private, making Port Wonder a fully funded project with no additional cost to taxpayers.

”Now, a large portion of the funding for Port Wonder emerged from the BP Oil Spill Settlement,” Hunter said.

Port Wonder will utilize the iconic lakefront view, attract visitors to Lake Charles, and provide quality of life and family-friendly activities for the community.

”It will feature this lake, behind me, in a way that I am certain is going to end up drawing people off the interstate, getting people to stop, spend their money for the economic development. But I’m also very excited about the education mission,” Edwards said.

Project partners include: Calcasieu Parish Public Library, Calcasieu Parish Police Jury, Calcasieu Parish Public Trust Authority, Calcasieu Parish School Board, Lake Charles Regional Airport, Port of Lake Charles, Visit Lake Charles, Ward 3 Recreation, Bill and Kay Dore, Entergy, Gehrig Family, Junior Leauge of Lake Charles, Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, Landlocked Aviation Services, P66, Safety Council of Southwest Louisiana, Sasol, State Farm, United Way of Southwest Louisiana and the Zigler Foundation.

You can find the governor’s visit to the BioLab groundbreaking HERE.

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